Whence Bends the Arc of Justice

Populism is a political construct in which it is asserted that ordinary people, regular people, have the right to order and control their own lives. Such an idea is not a bad one, with a provision or two, i.e., that regular people are committed to the common good and that this commitment is expressed by a homogeneous populace.

Ours is not such a populace. We are an amalgam of nativist, racist, self-interested, uneducated, educated, non-nativist, non-racist, other-regarding cultures, enclaves and geopolitical groupings. There is no such thing as American exceptionalism. We are like every other human population, a motley collection of diverse morals, abilities and interests struggling for 240 years to become a nation the ideal of which always looms beyond our reach. We do, from time to time, make progress in moving closer to that ideal but we also easily achieve a retrograde motion. That such inching backward is possible is now the threshold on which we stand.

The campaign rhetoric of our president-elect gave permission to nativist, racist and sexist elements among us regular people to voice fear, anger and bias and in doing so revealed the ugly truth about us that we’d prefer lay hidden. When we awakened Wednesday, November 9th, the only thing that had changed was that we could no longer deny America’s embarrassing identity. But no one familiar with Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” should have been all that surprised or shocked. Ours has always been an uphill effort to find the moral high ground. The arc bends toward justice only when we pull the bow in that direction. To suppose otherwise is magical thinking.

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One response to “Whence Bends the Arc of Justice

  1. Haven’t heard from you in awhile. Your post is quite restrained considering the anguish I’ve been pouring out on Facebook to my Trumpkin friends. Some of whom are friends no longer. I’ve had them tell me in all sincerity that “Trump is anointed by God” and to get over it. When I point out that there is nothing about him even remotely godly, I’m accused of being hateful. I think I’ll start reading more about how Hitler came to power and convinced 60 million German Christians that he was their savior. I’ve warned the Trumpkins that history is about to repeat itself. But now, five days later, I’ve gotten the accusations and anger out of my system. I can laugh again, now that Andy Borowitz and Stephen Colbert are laughing again. (SNL not so much yet.) And even a contentious Facebook “argument” yesterday involving 3 of my Trumpkin relatives ended, I think, with a bit more understanding on both sides. Our revolution needs to happen for real this time. Bernie. Elizabeth Warren. Michelle Obama. The evangelical-Christian rationale (and the way-far-out Christian-based prophecy conspiracy theories) haven’t even been considered in all the post-election critiques. That had much more to do with Trump’s election than the pundits seem to realize. Anyway, don’t be a stranger Ron. Let’s hear more from you!

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